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pride, achievement, self-esteem, emotion, rationality


Comparative pride – that is, pride in how one compares to others in some respect – is often thought to be warranted. In this paper, I argue that this common position is mistaken. The paper begins with an analysis of how things seem when a person feels pride. Pride, I claim, presents some aspect of the self with which one identifies as being worthy. Moreover, in some cases, it presents this aspect of the self as something one is responsible for. I then go on to argue that when the focus of one’s pride is comparative, things are never as pride makes them seem. The core problem is that if the performance in which one takes pride is really valuable, the fact that it is superior to the performance of others does nothing to contribute to that value. I conclude with a discussion of why so many are inclined to validate comparative pride and a response to those who claim that comparisons are essential to pride because they must be used to set standards of excellence.


This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in Philosophical Quarterly following peer review. The version of record is available online at:

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Philosophical Quarterly

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Philosophy Commons



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